The Federation-Cardassian Wars, known in the Federation as the Cardassian Wars, was a prolonged conflict between the Federation and the Cardassian Union, which started at least as far back as 2347 and lasted into the 2350s. Smaller scale hostilities, seemingly not officially considered part of the war, continued into the 2360s. By the mid-2360s, the wars had settled into an effective stalemate, with neither side gaining advantage in terms of firepower or territory. In 2367 a truce was established, which enforced an end to active hostilities but left many of the major questions of the conflict unresolved. The final treaty to end all hostilities of the wars was not signed until 2370. This formed the Demilitarized Zone between the two powers, effectively creating a new border and clarifying the ownership of such planets as Dorvan V.
The wars raged in a series of conflicts of various sizes as the two powers struggled to protect their individual interests. A major incident was the Setlik III massacre. The Federation starship USS Rutledge under the command of Captain Benjamin Maxwell was the first vessel to respond to the colony's distress calls. The Rutledge went on to become involved in other conflicts during these wars. Many members of the ship's crew exhibited signs of xenophobia towards Cardassians thereafter. The USS Tecumseh, commanded by Captain Raymond, also saw extensive combat.
Prior to 2355, the USS Stargazer was involved in a truce offering by the Federation in sector 21503. After making contact with a Cardassian warship, Captain Jean Luc Picard lowered the ship's shields as a gesture of good will, but the Cardassian commander ignored the gesture and disabled the Stargazer's weapons and impulse engines. The Stargazer managed to regroup and flee.
While Kathryn Janeway held the rank of Lieutenant, she was the member of an away team defending a Federation outpost from Cardassians during the border conflict. The Cardassians fought for the outpost for weeks, and at one point ended up in a three day long firefight. In the end Starfleet secured the outpost and all members of the away team were decorated by Starfleet Command.
Much of the fighting went on in the area of space that would later become the DMZ. The Beloti sector was a hot spot during the wars, and in the 2350s, gravitic mines were deployed in the sector. The Cardassian Union pushed into Federation space, and Federation systems such as Minos Korva were disputed territory during the wars. In 2369, two years after the established truce, the Cardassians unsuccessfully attempted to take the system.
Losses during the wars left deep scars on both sides. For instance, Gul Evek lost two of his three sons during the Cardassian Wars, and Captain Benjamin Maxwell lost his entire family. Starfleet officers such as Will Kayden and Raymond Boone died during the war. Popular Federation ambassadors Spock and Sarek disagreed publicly over the Cardassian Wars, which led to a serious divide in their relationship and family. Tensions remained between the two expanding powers. Many seasoned veterans from both sides were called upon by their seperate peoples to face each other again during the Dominion War that begin in late 2373.
- Cardassians attack Setlik III, claiming pre-emptive strike.
- Native Americans settle on Dorvan V.
- Gravitic mines deployed in the Beloti sector.
- Prior to 2355
- USS Stargazer makes a truce offer, it is rejected with force.
- Early 2360s
- Cardassians attempt to take a Federation outpost leading to weeks of combat.
- Mid 2360s
- Conflicts settle into an effective stalemate.
- Open hostilities end.
- Cardassians prepare for renewed hostilities; Federation watches with interest.
- USS Phoenix attacks Cardassian outposts without orders.
- USS Denver hits a gravitic mine.
- A truce is established, but questions remain about the boarder.
- The Cardassians attempt to take Minos Korva.
- The Federation-Cardassian Treaty is finalized and the DMZ formed.